This morning Belmont University topped out its new $80 million Dining and Academic Complex by following in the long-held Scandinavian tradition of placing a tree on the roof of the building to celebrate the completed framing of the structure. The building is expected to open in summer 2015 and will house three University programs: music business, media studies and a new major that launched last fall, motion pictures.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “The programs that will occupy this building demand state-of-the-art technology in order to educate students to compete in today’s marketplace, and this new facility will offer exceptional resources. Moreover, the new second-floor space for our primary dining option will serve our entire campus, giving our community greater options and faster service in a location that will also provide beautiful aesthetics.”
The 134,000-square-foot Dining and Academic Complex will sit on top of a 1,000+ -space parking garage, keeping the building’s footprint small while greatly enhancing parking options on campus. The second-floor dining hall will provide 1,000 seats; a capacity that triples the current campus cafeteria, and will offer an outdoor patio facing into campus. As part of its 21-year tenure as Belmont’s dining services provider, Sodexo is contributing to the construction of the Dining and Academic Center.
Belmont Vice President and Chief of Staff Susan West, who oversees the auxiliary services on campus, said, “Our campus community will benefit greatly from improved dining services in this facility. The research that we did in advance—through visits to other university dining facilities and focus groups with students, faculty and staff—provided thoughtful and helpful input which impacted every aspect of the new cafeteria’s design. I think our campus is going to truly love this new space.”
Classrooms and faculty/staff offices will comprise approximately 70 percent of the building. Academic program-centered features of the building include 30 student edit bays, multiple computer labs, a motion capture facility, a Foley/ADR sound studio, color correction studio, post-production audio mix studio, a video/broadcast studio, two video production control rooms, a 2,500 square foot sound stage and a scene shop. In addition, two state-of-the art screening theaters (seating 260 and 80) will also boast audio mixing technology.
Belmont is seeking LEED Gold certification for the new facility, which will utilize a geothermal HVAC system as well as feature a partial green roof. The geothermal system is projected to yield the University an estimated 40 percent in cost savings over a standard heating and cooling system. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes it as the most environmentally-friendly heating and cooling system because it uses the earth itself as the source to transfer temperatures, reducing energy costs and pollution concerns. Instead of generating heat with standard conventional furnaces, in the geothermal system water is funneled 500-feet underground through pumps that use the earth’s constant temperature of 50 degrees to warm buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer.
Since 2000, Belmont has invested nearly a half billion dollars ($470 million) in construction projects to enhance campus life and serve a growing enrollment, including several residence halls, academic buildings, an athletic and student life center as well as its largest building to date, the Wedgewood Academic Center.
University praised by its peers for commitments to innovation, undergraduate teaching, internships
Belmont University catapulted today into the Top 5 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of America’s Best Colleges in the South region. After three years at No. 7, Belmont’s ranking at No. 5 for the publication’s 2015 edition marks another check on the University’s Vision 2015 goal-setting list, an accomplishment achieved a full year ahead of schedule as was Belmont’s enrollment target (set for 7,000, the University hit 7,301 this fall at the start of classes).
Belmont was also lauded for the seventh year in a row as a top “Up-and-Comer,” indicating the university has made “the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus or facilities.” Moreover, Belmont was ranked second in the South for its “unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching” and was lauded by its peers for the internships the University emphasizes as part of its overall educational experience, an academic enrichment closely paired with student success.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This is great news. I’m so privileged to be associated with faculty and staff who give their best every day to create extraordinary learning experiences for our students. While it’s gratifying and humbling to achieve this part of our Vision, we’re far from done. Planning has already begun on Vision 2020, and I fully expect our campus to raise the bar even higher as we imagine our future together.”
In the Best Regional Universities-South, Belmont is again the highest-ranked university of the 15 ranked Tennessee institutions in its category, a feat the University has claimed for more than a decade.The No. 5 ranking places Belmont in a premier position among the 126 public and private institutions included in the South region, an area that covers Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana.Other southern regional institutions in the Top 5 included Elon University (NC), Rollins College (FL), Samford University (AL) and The Citadel (SC).
First day of classes welcomes more than 1,400 new freshmen to campus
Don’t call it a “small, liberal arts college” anymore. Today Belmont University announced a Fall 2014 enrollment of 7,301 students, putting the thriving University at more than double its enrollment from 2000 (2,976 students) and up 5.5 percent from last fall’s total of 6,915. Applications for undergraduate and graduate admissions for Fall 2014 also saw an increase of 12.5 percent and resulted in the University’s largest freshman class to date with 1,420 students.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “It’s both humbling and gratifying to see the number of students who want to come to Belmont to learn and discover their life purpose. These are individuals from all walks of life and many corners of the globe who aren’t thinking only of future careers but are embracing this University’s mission to engage and transform the world with their passions, skills and talents. I’m proud to welcome them to their new home and thankful they’ve chosen to be Belmont Bruins.”
In addition to incoming freshmen, Belmont also welcomed 508 new transfer students to campus this week, marking a total number of nearly 2,000 new undergraduates. The student body currently consists of 5,898 undergraduate students and 1,403 pursuing graduate/professional paths.
Associate Provost and Dean of Enrollment David Mee added, “We are very pleased with the fall 2014 admissions cycle. The entire University is involved in helping Belmont maintain the kind of momentum that has resulted in growing national recognition, enhanced experiences for our students and phenomenal growth during a period of stagnant enrollment across much of higher education nationally. Belmont is a unique story – one highlighted by a daily commitment to living out our mission and values. And by doing so, students continue to be attracted to Belmont and Nashville from all 50 states and many countries, and in record numbers. Nearly 2,000 new undergraduates alone just arrived at Belmont, and that is wonderful news for both the University and Nashville.”
Following a thankful message from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and a charge to find their purposes through service from Belmont President Bob Fisher, students in Belmont’s Class of 2018 along with transfers students volunteered throughout Nashville through the University’s annual SERVE Project on Monday afternoon.
“This event has been going on at Belmont for at least 15 years. It’s so Belmont when our students go out into the community and serve. What I hope for you and for our community is that it will trigger an ongoing quest in you to find what you are uniquely made to do to serve others,” Fisher told 1,750 students before they departed campus for 13 sites across the city, including three Metro Nashville Public Schools and nonprofit organizations like Preston Taylor Ministries.
An annual “Welcome Week” tradition for more than a decade, SERVE provides a perfect tie-in to Belmont’s ongoing commitment to engage students in their community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level.
“I am very pleased to be here and welcome you. You are all geared to serve our city,” said Dean. “Tennessee is the volunteer state, and Belmont and the city of Nashville have a strong tradition in giving back. When you go out and volunteer, please know that we appreciate that. There is nothing more valuable you can do in college than to get involved and understand how the city works.”
In West Nashville, 20 students sorted and bundled school supplies for LP PENCIL Box, a nonprofit organization that allows Metro school teachers to pick out $600 worth of pencils, rulers, backpacks, highlighters and other supplies every year. Program Manager Kerry Conley said 72.4 percent of Metro students live at or below the poverty line and are unable to purchase their own supplies, so often times Metro teachers spend $500 of their personal funds to help their students. (more…)
Two Oaks provides 418 living spaces for upperclassmen
Belmont University celebrated today the opening of its biggest residence hall, Two Oaks, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This weekend, 418 upperclassmen students will move into the 139,000-square-foot building’s mix of apartment-style and suite-style rooms. Two Oaks has a larger square footage and holds a dozen more beds than the University’s 12 other residence halls. In addition to residential space, the project includes the expansion and extension of the Thrailkill Garage to accommodate an additional 352 vehicles. The need for additional residential and parking space comes as a result of Belmont’s significant enrollment expansion from 2,976 students in 2000 to nearly 7,000 last fall.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “This new campus residential space is a perfect launching pad for our students as they begin to engage and transform the world. Having these additional students located at the core of campus will enliven and enrich our entire Belmont community.”
The building is named for two large oak trees on the site that provide natural beauty and shade to the building and courtyard. The new hall’s footprint was designed to save the trees as Belmont continues to emphasize environmental sustainability with this construction. The facility also uses a high-efficiency drip irrigation system, water-saving faucet aerators and low ‘e’ insulated glass as well as energy efficient lighting, appliances and mechanical systems. (more…)